The Aquarium of Niagara is celebrating its 50th year of operation in 2015, and the community is invited to become part of a very special experience.
Since 1965, the Aquarium of Niagara, located at 701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls, has hosted visitors from near and far, sharing with them a love of marine life and conservation of aquatic ecosystems. It is one of the Cataract City's oldest running attractions, and one that has been supported by the local community for decades. As it enters its 50th year of operation, the Aquarium of Niagara welcomes the area's residents to consider a membership - one that offers a list of benefits that can be enjoyed year-round.
In fact, this 50th anniversary year is the ideal time to become an Aquarium of Niagara member. Membership provides access to the Aquarium of Niagara's top events and experiences. Each year, Aquarium of Niagara members have the opportunity to participate in family-centric events such as "Halloween Happenings" - Saturday, Oct. 25; the "Reptile Experience" - Saturday, Nov. 8; "Tis the Season" - Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 20 and 21; and the upcoming "Penguin Days" in March.
What's more, an Aquarium of Niagara membership benefits package includes free or discounted admission to several zoos, parks and aquariums locally and nationwide. A full list of benefits can be viewed on the Aquarium of Niagara's website, www.aquariumofniagara.org.
The Seifert family, Aquarium of Niagara members for several years, recently shared their experience.
"We have participated in many activities at the Aquarium such as touch tank sessions, behind-the-scenes walks, birthday parties, sea lion meetings, and even the penguin encounter," Michelle Seifert said. "With each activity, we always encourage our friends to join and take advantage of a wonderful learning center right in our backyard. Being on the stage with the sea lions - getting to interact with these beautiful creatures - was a memory my son still talks about today."
From its early days as a model inland aquarium, the first of its kind to sustain a sea life environment in artificial seawater, the Aquarium of Niagara has continued to be a leader in innovation and research. Today, the Aquarium of Niagara family is made up of California sea lions, Humboldt penguins, harbor seals, a giant Pacific octopus, and a multitude of fresh and saltwater fish. There are many opportunities to learn about these creatures, watch them interact with each other in their home setting, and even get up close and personal at a pinniped feeding or a touch tank demonstration.
Visitors from near and far love the Aquarium of Niagara's history. And there are plans in store for the future. In the years ahead, the Aquarium of Niagara is poised to upgrade many of its current exhibits and create new ones as well, including a new home for the penguin colony, slated to begin construction in 2015.
The Aquarium of Niagara's "Fall Into the Aquarium" membership drive, offering discounts, is now underway and continues to Sept. 30. Purchase a new family or grandparent membership and receive a $15 discount. Or renew an existing family or grandparent membership and receive a $10 discount.
Parking is free of charge 363 days a year. Fall/winter hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Call the Aquarium of Niagara at 716-285-3575 or visit www.aquariumofniagara.org for more information.